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Did Burke’s loyalty to the league cost him his job?

Jan 14, 2013, 11:52 AM EDT

Brian Burke Getty Images

Since Brian Burke was fired as Maple Leafs general manager last week, the big question hasn’t been why (there were plenty of reasons there), but why now?

In his post-firing press conference, Burke said he wasn’t provided a “satisfactory explanation” for the timing of the move; however, the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman managed to dig up one possibility through a source.

It sounds like the Toronto Maple Leafs new ownership disagreed with Burke’s CBA philosophies — the unwillingness to use bonuses, back-diving contracts and offer sheets among other things. It’s about using your resources to the fullest extent. In the new deal, there are further limitations, but still advantages to being a financial powerhouse (bonuses, for example, were not touched). If this is true, we’re going to see a change in the way Toronto does business.

One major criticism Burke faced in Toronto was that he was more interested in the success of the NHL than his own team.

As Leafs fan Sean McIndoe, aka @DownGoesBrown, put it to PHT: “Whether it’s some sense of duty to the league, or some sort of personal moral code, or just plain old self-promotion, Burke has a tendency to give the impression that he has quite a few priorities beyond doing whatever it takes to win.”

Burke is one of Gary Bettman’s biggest fans, and not afraid to say it. Perhaps the Leafs’ new ownership group, which wasn’t exactly enamored with Burke to begin with, didn’t appreciate his support for a commissioner who just fought for a CBA that restricts the ability of rich franchises to throw their wallets around.

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